Because Hyperbole Hurts A Cause

So, with the recent hubbub about government leaks, justice, fairness, and civil rights, the internet is rife with varying opinions from a few honest people,  oodles of pundits, and, of course, a cornucopia of nut jobs.

Here’s a quick note for all of you, hyperbole doesn’t help you, the object of your sympathy, or your cause.

A good example:



He’s been naked for years? We’re left imagining an emaciated, naked Manning curled-up on the wet concrete floor of a sub-basement cell with no windows, lights, or stimuli.

Based on what I’ve read, this seems like a huge stretch. Based on my various visits to military prisons, it is a colossal stretch. While I agree that his treatment at the Marine Brig was improper and illegal (this is why the judge granted him more than 100 days of confinement credit on any possible future sentence), it hardly amounts to years or the image conjured by inaccurate and sensational journalism. I suspect his attorney (the man who knows most about what Manning thinks, knows, and has experienced) would agree. You see, hyperbole hurts his case, too.

Such exaggeration hurts your cause, regardless of what it might be. Why? It makes you look dishonest. It makes you look desperate. Not because you are desperately seeking fairness, but because it gives the appearance that you know the facts don’t effectively support your slant. Too often, it makes you look crazy. Is that what you want for something that is important to you?

We should be able to trust the journalism industry to give us the facts and empower us to understand important news stories in one, rapid read. Sadly, that is hardly the case in this modern era.

But, what do I know? I’ve only been practicing law for a few centuries.


AN ASIDE: The first response to the initial tweet speaks of Manning’s case not going to a judge for a long time. Of course, the fact that it didn’t is consistent with the laws that govern the UCMJ. Instead, various commanders in Manning’s chain of command hold quasi-judicial authority in the initial stages of a military judicial proceeding. Those who are particularly slanted against military authority would scoff at this and talk about the unfairness embodied by military commanders. Of course, the same would also find a way to minimize the fairness of a judge, if one were involved from the beginning. So, I acknowledge the fact that I can’t win this argument, and I’ll stop typing.